GLADSTONE, Mo. -- A forgery bust rounded up a dozen illegal immigrants trying to get Missouri IDs with stolen identification so they could work in the US.
Law enforcement had to move fast to foil this forgery scheme.
Investigators with the Missouri Department of Revenue figured there was something fishy going on when they realized about 100 people had gotten IDs at the same address in Kansas City, Mo.
The house on Askew in Kansas City is way to small for 100 adults to be living there. That is the conclusion made by investigators from the Missouri Department of Revenue when they checked out the home belonging to Nohemi Lara.
Lara is one of 17 people charged with forgery in the ID scam. Investigators said she is paid to interpret for illegal immigrants at the Missouri license bureau, knowing they were using stolen birth certificates and social security numbers to get state IDs.
Homeland Security agent Mark Fox who led this investigation said illegal immigrants use the stolen identities to get by the e-verify system and get a job. When they earn money and it is reported to the IRS, it becomes a life-changing problem for the person they are pretending to be.
“You can have problems with state taxes, you can have problems with benefits, you can have problems with income taxes on the federal level and it just turns people’s lives into a nightmare,” said Fox. “Getting it fixed becomes more difficult the more tendrils are out in your life.”
Michael Rapp, an attorney who deals primarily with identity theft and credit issues said getting the damage fixed can be difficult. One of his clients is a college student working part time, who was caught up as the victim in this type of scam.
“He filed his taxes for the first time and suddenly the IRS sent him a huge bill,” Rapp said. “According to the IRS he had been working in five different states for the past five years.”
This type of identity theft can cause the victims problems not only with the IRS, but also credit bureaus and in some cases criminal accusations.
“We have had a client on the past that has been accused of being a sex offender and they have never been arrested a day in their life,” Rapp said. “You might be an identity theft victim for years before it impacts your life or it could be five minutes. It depends on what they are using your ID for.”
Many people become victims of this type of crime because personal information is stolen in home burglaries. Others carry around their personal information, which experts say is never a good idea.
Personal records like birth certificates and social security cards should be locked away.
If your identity is stolen, you have to fill out a police report and an identity theft affidavit to send to federal agencies. The process goes on after that as the burden falls on the victim to prove who they are.